Turning on resonant SERRS using the chromophore-plasmon coupling created by host-guest complexation at a plasmonic nanoarray

Edward H. Witlicki, Sissel S. Andersen, Stinne W. Hansen, Jan O. Jeppesen, Eric W. Wong, Lasse Jensen, Amar H. Flood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


An active molecular plasmonics system is demonstrated where a supramolecular chromophore generated in a host-guest binding event couples with the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) arising from gold nanodisc gratings. This coupling was achieved by wavelength-matching the chromophore and the LSPR with the laser excitation, thus giving rise to surface-enhanced resonance Raman scattering (SERRS). The chromophore is a broad charge-transfer (CT) band centered at 865 nm (- = 3500 M-1 cm-1) generated by the complexation of cyclobis(paraquat-p-phenylene) (CBPQT4+) and the guest molecule tetrathiafulvalene (TTF). The substrates consist of sub-1-μm gold nanodisc arrays which display dimension-tunable plasmon wavelengths (600-1000 nm). The vibrational spectra of the complex arising from SERRS (λexc = 785 nm) were generated by irradiating an array (λLSPR = 765 nm) through the solution to give a chromophore-specific signature with the intensities surface enhanced by ∼105. Surface adsorption of the empty and complexed CBPQT 4+ is also implicated in bringing the chromophore into the electric field arising from the surface-localized plasmon. In a titration experiment, the SERRS effect was then used to verify the role of resonance in turning on the spectrum and to accurately quantify the binding between surface-adsorbed CBPQT4+ and TTF. The use of a nonpatterned gold substrate as well as a color mismatched complex did not show the enhancement, thus validating that spectral overlap between the chromophore and plasmon resonance is key for resonance surface enhancement. Simulations of the electric fields of the arrays are consistent with interdisc plasmon coupling and the observed enhancement factors. The creation of a responsive plasmonic device upon the addition of the guest molecule and the subsequent coupling of the CT chromophore to the plasmon presents favorable opportunities for applications in molecular sensing and active molecular plasmonics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6099-6107
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number17
StatePublished - May 5 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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